A METAL detectorist who had only recently taken up the hobby made a lucky find when he uncovered a Viking brooch, which is going on display at Salisbury Museum.

Sidney Boyce was using his metal detector near Longbridge Deverill when he found the bronze trefoil brooch, which he then took to the museum to be identified.

The find was reported to Katie Hinds, the finds liaison officer for Wiltshire, based at Salisbury Museum, who immediately recognised its significance.

Viking items are incredibly rare in this part of England, and although Danish armies attacked Wilton and Salisbury in 1003, the area is outside that ruled by the Danes in the 9th and 10th centuries. In the 11th century England was ruled by Danish Kings, the most famous being King Canute.

The brooch dates to between 850 and 1050AD and is decorated in the Viking Borre style.

Each arm of the brooch is decorated with a cat like animal head – with prominent snouts, circular eyes and large triangular ears. The reverse would have had a pin that could have been attached on ether one of the other arms.

Museum director Adrian Green said: “This is in an amazing find, this is the first time that a Viking brooch, made in Scandinavia over one thousand years ago has been recorded in Wiltshire.

“How it got here is a mystery, one is tempted to make a link with an attacking Viking army passing through the area, but the truth is probably a little more mundane. There is no reason why this brooch couldn’t have been an unusual souvenir owned by somebody living in the local area.”